Le Mans is the oldest and possibly most famous motor race in the world. It is also the toughest as it spans 24 hours and obviously the fatigue and stress placed on the drivers takes its toll. British drivers have won it more than any other nation with 29 wins, France would be second at 28 followed by Germany 17, and then the US with 12. It was because of these facts and figures that I fancied this would be a nice addition to my Blu ray collection, but I was unfortunately mistaken.
The film opens with Steve McQueen in his Porsche driving along a French country road. He is going to the Le Mans racing circuit to compete, even though he suffered a major accident the previous year. He stops briefly around the back of Notre Dame and spies an attractive blonde woman across the road. The woman is the widow of his late friend who was killed in the same accident as McQueen the previous year, and there you have the plot.
There is no dialogue between actors for the first 25 minutes of the film and it does feel that you are watching a poor documentary without narration. Character development is almost non existent, you dont really get to see much of the drivers lives, this show is all about the race. Le Mans was made in 1971 and the restoration is nothing to write home about. The picture is quite sharp on Blu ray but there are many older films restored to a far greater degree than this, the colour does seem a little washed out in places and it is not blemish free. Grain is very evident from start to finish and it is hard to tell if that is due to film stock or the restoration itself. But all this is nothing compared to Steve McQueens I speak your weight style of acting. He looks broody throughout and his dialogue is weird to say the least, for example, This isnt just a thousand to one shot. This is a professional blood sport. Or even better, When your racing its life, everything else is just waiting around.
There was no CGI in 1971 so the racing and the accidents had to be filmed for real and a lot of this footage is quite good but I found myself checking how long was left to go more than once.
I can only give it two stars, as racing films go, this is not a great one, particularly when you consider the recent Senna, I could not recommend this to anyone.